Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This little Halloween trick-or-treater is yours truly! In 1954! (This is when I was naturally blonde) I was Little Bo Peep and my mother made my costume. I'm sorry this picture is in black and white becaue it's hard to see the detail. My dress, cape and bonnet were made from crepe paper. Yes, that's right! My mother pleated and sewed the layers of ruffles. She was a brilliant seamstress,
there wasn't anything she couldn't make. (When I viewed this photo in a large form, that wild "modern" chair jumped right out at me! Too bad it didn't go with the carpet! 1954-too funny!)
Years ago, when I was a small child, we would go door to door on Halloween with a parent (who was also in costume-my parents would take turns each year), only visiting the neighbors on our street. At each stop, the homeowner would ask us to tell a joke or do a little song or dance and then they would try to guess who we were. (I, of course, never realized they they already knew who we were!) We would choose our treat, which was usually an apple, or homemade cookies or a real popcorn ball or a small candy of some type and be on our way. We would make our rounds and be home in an hour or so, excited to see what was in our little treat bag. Halloween was a fun and exciting time.
When my kids were little, we followed the same tradition. They only went to the homes on our street and spent some time performing when we visited each house. As each of my kids turned 12, trick-or-treating came to an end. I always felt Halloween was for the little ones.
Flash forward to 1991, the first year David and I were in our current home in suburban Pittsburgh. I knew we would have a lot of kids for Halloween  so I had gotten enough candy for about 100 trick-or-treaters with plenty left over for post-Halloween snacking! Halloween in our neighborhood started at 6:00. By 6:30 the candy was gone! At first we panicked and taked about giving money or cans of soup but we finally decided just to close up shop for the night. 100 kids in a half hour! Insane! Of course the kids couldn't have only been from our neighborhood. Some kids were clearly older than 13 or 14 and came in large groups. We were totally unprepared and overwhelmed. Many of the kids didn't even say "Trick or Treat", they just stuck their bags out for a treat. I was crushed. That was the end of Halloween at 9010 for the next 18 years, until now. I didn't like Halloween! To me, the charm of the guessing and performing had been replaced by greed.  It wasn't fun anymore. Seriously, how much candy does one child need? Call me a scrooge. For years I decorated for "Fall" but not for Halloween. Then I started to see all of the wonderful handmade Halloween things people were making and I succombed! 
This year I have decided to once again throw open the door tonight and greet the kids. I have purchased little bags of pretzels, chips and cheese curls (oh OK, I ate the cheese curls!) and Doritos for about 85 trick-or- treaters. The neighborhood has evolved and the thoughts about Halloween have changed, too. I think parents are once more accompanying their little ones because of safety issues and I don't think there are as many kids in our neighborhood these days. (Most of our new neighbors
 are really young couples with babes in arms)
 Today is dreary and rainy. I hope it dries up so the kids can go out tonight and not get soaked. I would hate to have to eat all of the treats that are in a big basket in my living room!

(from Suzee Que at Flickr)
This is the pumpkin head image I used for my Halloween tag swap.

I don't recall where this cute little witch came from.
I hope there are cute costumes tonight like this little girl....
and nothing that will scare me.
NOTE:  It is 9 PM and the Trick-or-Treaters are all home in bed by now...or on a sugar high somewhere. Halloween was great! The little brides, princesses, pirates, monkeys and many more varieties were adorable, excited and happy. We were happy to wave to the Moms and Dads who were waiting patiently on the sidewalk and prompting, "What do you say?" Cute, Cute, Cute! This was certainly worth the 18 year wait. I guess we'll do it again next year! (I even found a bag of cheese curls I missed!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweet or Sinister? A Halloween Tag Swap!

I had a wonderful time last week with my big sis in Chatham, NJ and my sweet daughter in Jersey City. Barb & I shopped at Home Goods (my all time favorite store and we don't have one in Pittsburgh-grrr!) and TJ Maxx, lunched out, visited with my talented and creative niece Wendi and her daughter Fiona and husband Jim. Then on to Jersey City for 3 days with whirlwind daughter. Michelle lives in JC but travels back and forth to NYC for work, shopping, meeting up with friends and church just like you or I would drive to the closest Mall or restaurant. I was on so many trains, subways, buses and cabs I couldn't keep track. I will share some pictures of my travels soon (we visited some awesome places and had big fun!)but for now I have to get rid of the nasty and evil flu bug I picked up somewhere in my travels. I came home sick and have been laying low all week.
Being home this week enabled me to finish up my tags for the Sweet & Sinister Halloween Tag Swap. I'm already late in mailing them but they will go out tomorrow. I thought that I would share the pictures....
You know I can't do anything without having some fun with it. The theme was to make 17, 2-sided side representing the sweet side of  Halloween and the other a more sinister side. When my swap partners see my tags, they will have to draw their own conclusions. First of all, this is what my work table looked like while I was creating the tags...

I knew that I wanted to do one side in pink...that certainly sounds sweet, right? But don't be too sure about that. You know the "don't judge a book by it's cover" line...

A cute little imp sitting on a pink pumpkin....wearing a black mask and "hanging" out with a creepy spider. While on the other side of the tag is a woman dressed in black with a pumpkin on her head...

Notice that her sign says "cute as a pumpkin" while the pink fairy says "small but spooky".
(The pumpkin is attached with a small brad so you can move that gourd
out of the way to reveal her real face)

So the question is
Sweet and Sinister....witch is witch?
I'll be back with more pictures soon.....but first, chicken soup!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Out the door again for a bit, some lovlies and an important reminder!!

I'm so afraid that you'll think I don't do anything but travel, it has certainly been a busy summer and fall with little trips. We had a great time at the Outer Banks with Charlie and family and now I'm heading out again solo for a visit to New Jersey to see my sister in Chatham and this beautiful woman...

our daughter Michelle. She lives in Jersey City and works in New York City so we'll be spending lot of time in the BIG city visiting some fun places and having lots of quality Mom/ Daughter time!
Before I go I wanted to show you some pictures of several beautiful things that have come in the mail over the past month or so, aside from my swap tin.
I'm sure many of you shop or at least have visited Etsy. It is a great place to find quality handmade items and vintage items as well.  I have lots of favorite artists whose things I love to look at and often buy from. Somethimes the things I buy are for gifts but I also buy things for myself. Most recently I been lucky enough to find the following beauties...

First up is this bewitching witch from Mary Lou at House of Whimsey-2
The witch's banner says "spooky" but I don't find her anything but boo-t-ful! (You do know that the candy corn was just for enhancement?) I have purchased other things from Mary Lou and the quality is exceptional and she is a peach of a woman and a gifted artist! I have gotten to know her through her blog which you can find here. Right now her shoppe stock is down a bit but keep checking...she does amazing things!
Next are these paper crafts from Wood and Fabric
The first is a notepad. Look at the detail!

and Michelle refers to this as a card, but it's so much more...

It's made from a paper bag!!! Her work is so inspirational and I love to just look at her pieces. They are always in colors I love and of course you know how crazy I am for that vintage look. Michelle lives in Canada and I'd like to know where she gets her rubber stamps-some of them are unlike ones I've seen here in the states.When I went to her shoppe to copy and paste her address, I almost bought 2 more things but decided to leave them in case you were interested.....just saying! Sadly, Michelle does not have a blog and she told me if she had would be in French! Oh well.

 I found Lori, of Goody, Goody Gumdrops (how much fun is that name!) on first. After seeing her beautiful, original artwork, I visited her Etsy store and couldn't leave without prints of her "buffet" series. She painted the same buffet decorated for different holidays. I decided to get the Halloween print first but I couldn't resist and got the Christmas and Spring prints, too! I bought one 8X10-inch frame and I keep the prints not being displayed behind the one you see here. When the season changes, I can just swap it out. She actually has a new Christmas buffet print that you must see....visit her shoppe for all the goodies!

Lori's blog is here. Lots of talent there!
Last but not least is this cheery card from Cherry's Jubilee!

I loved the flower on the front of the card, fashioned from a paper doily. Cherry has lots in her shoppe right now and her blog is a great one to visit, too.
OK kids! I have a lot of packing to do and some laundry to finish so I'll sign off for now! I've left you with lots to explore. I hope you enjoy these places as much as I do! If you click on any of the pictures, you can see them in greater detail.
Oh...and if you like a lot of fun....A Swap for All Seasons is having a new swap for the winter...who wouldn't want to play along with this?

Bye for now. Have a good week everyone! I'll try to check in while I'm gone.
PS- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
If you have not had a mammogram, please call to schedule one....for your own sake
My mother died of breast cancer in 1977. She was 58 years old and I was 28. I miss her every day. I do breast self-examinations and have an annual mammogram. I have just read this blog post of Amy Tara's. It is very touching and heartfelt. Please take time to read it and follow her suggestions. I just did.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Swap Treasures!

I  promised to show you some beautious things I have recently received in the mail.
First up is the treaury of goodies I received from Linda Freeman in the Swap for All Seasons Altered Tin Swap. Linda is a teriffic artist and I just loved the things she included in this swap! The tin itself is an Altoid tin. I believe Linda used alcohol inks to paint the outside. (The photo does not do justice to the mottling of the colors) She then added an image of a lovely Victorian lady in a frame.

It's amazing what you can fit into an Altoid tin! Here are some of the tiny treasures I discovered...
buttons,charms,a sweet little doily, lace, a bird pin, small vial, a Currier & Ives butter pat and milk bottle caps! (I've been looking all over for these!)

Scrabble tiles....notice the beautiful way Linda finished the inside of the tin and lined it with sheet music.
The inside bottom of the tin displays another vintage lady's image and the words...kindred spirits.
Linda included an additional package of treats...some adopted relatives, a neat button, a silk scarf, foil leaves, a tiny spool of thread and a beautifully packaged tag packet. I love the label!
Wasn't I lucky to have Linda as my swap partner? I sure think so!
Here are the pictures of the package I sent to Linda. I chose black, red and cream as my palette and Fashionista as my theme. The flower on the lid is made from pattern much fun to make!

Inside were some bits and bobs (ooo that sounds so British!) including gummed tags, buttons, tickets, vintage seam binding, vintage style pins and various tags.

I included a box of chocolate mint Altoids since I had to eat them all from the other tin for Linda's gifts.
That only seems fair, right?

I packaged the tin, the candy and a little notepad I made in a box and then decorated the lid of the box.

Another successful and fun swap! Thanks to Linda Freeman, my swap partner and Linda Smith, the premier swap hostess who has a talent for matching up the greatest partners with me! If you go to her blog, she will be posting the details of her Winter Swap soon. Take a chance and sign up. It will be fun!


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